Monthly Archives: February 2010

Our Saturday, told in pictures

Its a good day if only one child has a fall/ scrape. Max lost his hold and fell onto our rough carpet

Hanging out with Neesha

"if I can't see her, she can't see me"

On our way out for dinner

Max taking a nap before dinner

Sharing a slice of bread

Max's table manners isn't the best

Ally's is slightly better

Ally the photographer

Oops, she was holding her "camera" the wrong way round

That’s all folks! Have a great weekend

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Separation Anxiety and Co-sleeping

Max is now 8 months old and has started to develop some separation anxiety.  All babies will have separation anxiety between the ages of six to eighteen months, it is a normal healthy development. Ally had a severe stranger and separation anxiety, she would burst into tears if a stranger even looked at her. This made going out a bit embarrassing and it lasted for over a year. I was told that I had spoiled her, I cuddled her too much, carried her too often. Now, I know better. Nothing I did made her clingy, it was just part of her normal development. If you see her now, she’s one of the most sociable talkative toddlers around.

Max on the other hand only seems to get anxious at bedtimes. He used to fuss a little and settle down to sleep on his own. Now he starts his “don’t leave me” cry the minute I pull up the cot rails. Usually it doesn’t last more than three minutes but some days he gets quite hysterical and I have to go in and comfort him. I don’t let him cry for more than five-minutes and if he starts sounding really upset, I go straight in. There isn’t any hard and fast rule about it, more of an instinct. It gets very tiring and stressful when your baby only wants YOU.  But take heart that it’s just a phase that would eventually pass.

With Ally we let her co-sleep with us for about nine months. It was the only way that anyone could get any sleep. Lots of people didn’t agree with what we did but it worked for our family. Letting her cry it out seemed cruel, waking up numerous times at night was affecting both her and myself. Many people told us ” it’ll become a habit and she won’t want to sleep on her own.” Slowly and patiently we transitioned her back into her own bed and today, she’ll happily climb into her big girl bed and fall asleep independently. If the situation worsens with Max, we’ll likely to co-sleep with him as well. The only time I would be cautious about co-sleeping is with a newborn. I never trusted myself to not roll over or cover my babies so they either slept beside our bed in a pack and play or in a separate little sleeper placed on our bed.

Max in a sleeper unit, 10 days old and looking a bit jaundiced

If you are thinking of giving co-sleeping a try, here are some guidelines to keeping your child safe.

  • make sure sheets are fitted and cannot be pulled loose
  • check to make sure there are no gaps between mattress and wall/furniture where baby can get stuck
  • an infant should be placed between mother and a guard rail/wall,not between 2 adults
  • do not sleep with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol
  • remove all pillows and blankets when sleeping with infants
  • never leave baby unattended on an adult bed

The list is by no means exhaustive, to be really safe, consider using an arms reach co-sleeper. We borrowed one from our friend when Max came along and it was a life saver. Baby is right by your side, yet safe in his own little crib. The side drops down so it makes it easy to reassure baby and not disturb your own sleep too much.

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Then and now

Its amazing how fast the kids grow up, just take a look at these pictures!

Sometimes I wish time would just freeze for a moment, I miss holding my newborn babies in my arms and smelling that baby scent.

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Roseola

Yup, Max has got the dreaded virus Roseola. He started breaking out in spots yesterday and today his face, arms and trunk are covered. *haven’t had the chance to take a picture of his spots yet*

Signs and symptoms of Rosela

  • High fever
  • child may be fussy or irritable
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • poor appetite

The rash usually appears after the fever breaks and can spread to their arms, legs, neck, face and trunk.

Ally had the same virus when she was slightly younger than Max. Hers was more severe and worrying since her temperature hit 40° C at one point. The most scary thing about Roseola is the high temperature that just suddenly hits. Since the virus most commonly affects children under the age of 2, you start to worry that they’ll develop febrile seizures (fits).

Thank goodness the worst is over and most children do not get a second attack of the virus. Now I’m just hoping that Max’s appetite will slowly pick up.

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Things toddlers say

Toddlers have a knack for speaking their minds at the most inappropriate times.  Yesterday Ally followed me into the fitting room and this was the conversation that followed.

” Mama, what are you doing mama?

“I’m trying on a skirt darling”

” Mama, Ally is also wearing a skirt”

“yes you are”

“Mama, you are wearing blue panties!”

At this point in time I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die of embarassement.

I pretended to ignore her last comment and she started having a conversation with herself.

“Ally is wearing white panties” * lifts skirt up to check*

“Mama is wearing blue panties! Baby Max doesn’t wear panties, he wears pampers!”

When I walked out of the fitting room the sales staff were all smiling at me, yes, me and blue panties.

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Filed under Ally, Random Musings

Days like this

Days like this I really want to climb back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

Days like this I want to yell and scream like the kids but that would accomplish nothing.

Days like this I wish I had more than one me, so that at least one of me could take a break.

Days like this I wonder how I would cope till the kid’s naptime.

Days like this I yearn for my single carefree days.

Days like this I wonder if the kids had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed or if its just me.

Days like this I take a deep breath, pick myself up again and start over.

Because I know days like this are all part and parcel of parenthood and a smile or a hug from one of the children always helps me forget about days like this.

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Dealng with sick kids

Ally has just gotten over her cold and now its Max’s turn to fall ill. There isn’t much I can do for him, his body has to fight the virus on its own but we try to relief his symptoms as much as we can.

In her first year, Ally often fell ill, she would catch a cold every other month and the highlight of her first year was spending Christmas at home with me cos we both contracted Hand Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD). Over time I’ve built up quite a few essential items to keep handy at home and I would like to share these with you.

* Please note that you should never attempt to self medicate your children, always seek a doctor’s advice before administering any medication.

Panadol- I always keep a bottle of Panadol on stand by for low grade fevers. The dosage can often be found on the side of the bottle according to the child’s age.

Fever Patches- Always helpful for low grade fevers as well.

Ibuofen- Given by the pediatrician, handy for high fevers above 39 degrees celcius.  Especially useful when the children contracted viral fever or fake measles. Their temperatures tend to spike extremely high and alternating panadol and Ibuofen was the only thing that kept their temperatures down.

Pedialyte- I keep these in the freezer and used them when Ally has severe diarrhea / vomiting. Dehydration is extremely dangerous for young children and Pedialyte helps to rehydrate them. At room temperature it can be quite yucky to drink cos of the slight salty taste, one way is to freeze them like ice lollies, the other trick is to mix it with a little bit of Ribena.

Ice pack/ teether –  Children are often falling down and an ice pack is always handy for bruises or bumps. A frozen teether is useful for times when they fall and split their lip, get the child to suck on the frozen teether to help soothe the pain and stop the bleeding.

Thermometer- it’s always good to know if your child is running a low-grade fever or something more serious.  Sometimes a low-grade fever is just a sign that the body is trying to fight an infection and medication might not always be necessary.

Number of your child’s doctor- Always have it in a prominent place so that in an event of an emergency, you don’t have to go hunting for it.

The most important thing when dealing with a sick child is to remain calm. I know it’s easier said then done especially when your child is crying inconsolably.  But children pick up on our emotions very quickly and you won’t want your child to panic as well.

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Some things never change

I remember going to Chinatown with my mom as a young girl, there was a small open space between 2 buildings and an old uncle used to have a few battery operated cars /motorcycles for rent. For $2 , you could ride around the little area for 10 minutes. It was a huge treat for my brother and I and we would always plead with my mom to let us have a ride.

Fast forward twenty plus years and though the old uncle isn’t there anymore, the battery operated ride-ons still are. These days the cars and bikes are looking a lot more realistic and some even come with remote controls so that parents can help their kids steer.

We found a little race track at the basement 2 car park of T3. They had various cars, even mini F1 cars and 2 Harley Davidson bikes.

Ally started off in a little pink beetle. And quickly decided that the Harley was way more fun.

Max waited patiently for her as always.

Besides the nicer looking cars and motorbikes, it now cost $4 for 10 minutes, talk about inflation!

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Polliwogs

Took the kids to Polliwogs today and surprisingly it wasn’t too crowded. Sad to say the play area is looking a bit worn and tired. The air conditioner wasn’t working very well and the entire area was really stuffy. I noticed several kids and adults were able to enter without wearing socks even though it states clearly that socks have to be worn at all times.

Some child managed to bring a stack of news papers into the toddler area and proceeded to make a huge mess. No one noticed/ bothered to clean up after him so it was just left there. I wasn’t impressed since its the area where the babies and toddlers play and you know they tend to put everything into their mouths.

The newspaper mess

I remember they use to have a few members of staff in the play area to keep an eye on the children. This would definitely ensure that every child and adult abides by the rules. The balls in the ball pit were looking rather dirty and one wonders if they are actually cleaned on a daily basis.  We’ve always liked Polliwogs cos its a great place for the kids, the play area is small enough for us to keep an eye on Ally and yet is fun enough to keep her entertained. But after today’s visit I was less than impressed with their level of cleanliness, looks like we won’t be back again anytime soon.

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Teaching the Children

Ally is at an age where many of her friends are attending school. We have intentionally kept her at home with the intention to home school her till she’s ready for K1. One of our main reasons for keeping her at home was for Ally and Max to spend time together.

I use the term “home schooling” very loosely because I don’t follow a specific curriculum. I borrow a lot of ideas from here, and here Preparatory Weekly themes for ages 2-4. and letter of the week preparatory curriculum.

We do not schedule set times for lessons, its hard to do that with Max around since the duration of his naps are never fixed. Since toddlers have naturally curious minds, we take that as a starting of point for our learning. Ally usually asks ” What are you doing Mama?’  and ” why mama?” at least 20 times a day. Depending on the situation, I let her get involved if its age appropriate. For example, she likes to come into the kitchen when I’m preparing meals, sometimes she helps me wash the vegetables, other times she measures out cups of rice. We count how many carrots we’re washing, the different colors of the vegetables/fruits and how much liquid is needed for the soup. This isn’t always possible since there are times I’m rushing to get a meal on the table. Other times we’re interrupted by Max who is usually very good about entertaining himself.

The kids go almost everywhere with us, we don’t have a helper at home so they follow us to the supermarket, the bank…etc I’m proud to say that Ally knows how to behave properly when we’re dining in a restaurant. She will say ” please” and ” thank you” to the service staff and always greets the hostess at the front door.

Every bath time is an opportunity for water play. Old plastic bottles, an inexpensive scoop and a plastic bath are perfect for hours of water fun. Painting is limited to the bathroom as well, makes clean up a whole lot easier. Sometimes Ally decides that her paint brush is a drum stick and her plastic tubs are drums, she will happily transform herself into a one man band, singing and drumming to the beat.

Ally and her "top hat"

One of her many art creations

Even Max joins in the fun

I know many parents are always worried about their children falling behind academically. Honestly, there are moments when I wonder if I’m short changing her by keeping her at home. The Singaporean in me starts to feel this kiasu twinge, thank goodness for my dear husband who is always reassuring and comforting. He was raised in a totally different education system, no pressure is placed on the children to excel at a very young age. The children he went to school with might not be as academically advanced as a Singaporean child, but they were mature and street wise beyond their years.

Its so easy to get caught up in the rat race that our dear country is so famous for. Parents are willing to shell out their hard earned money to send their children to the best enrichment classes around.  I personally have nothing against enrichment classes, but I don’t believe in hot housing my children. I remember an incident at our neighbourhood playground, we had taken Ally there as usual and we met another little girl and her father. She was about Ally’s age and was just standing at her father’s side, unsure of what to do with the playground equipment. It was only with the father’s coaxing and instructions did she start playing. It made me sad to see that there are some children who have to be taught to play.

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